On Friday night, Brighton & Hove Albion beat Manchester United to mathematically secure their status in the Premier League for another year but away from the pitch, a small section of their supporters embarrassed themselves with a pathetic chant about Crystal Palace academy graduate Wilfried Zaha.
Got sent this last night. Brighton fans chanting “Wilfried Zaha’s got malaria”
Absolutely disgusting. pic.twitter.com/7CGa83OhWK
— StraightOuttaSE25 (@SO_Selhurst) May 5, 2018
As a club who often like to trumpet themselves as cosmopolitan, it’s quite simply ridiculous to see/hear any of their supporters singing a song with the connotations of the one above. Yes, Brighton and Palace share a bitter albeit often misunderstood rivalry with one another, but in 2018, there is simply no excuse for this sort of behaviour from any football fan.
You have to question why, on the night when Brighton secured their status in the top flight, the first thought of some was to have a dig at a Crystal Palace player. As far as I can tell, Zaha’s only crime is to have scored five pivotal goals against the Seagulls since 2011. Frustrating? Yes. Deserving of a song like this? Absolutely not.
When you throw the recent saga involving Burnley’s Jay Rodriguez and Brighton’s Gaetan Bong into the mix, it’s painful to see anyone associated with the south coast outfit singing songs of this nature. I dare say one or two people will make excuses or claim that the song isn’t “racist” but anyone with a grain of sense will see that any chant linking Wilfried Zaha and malaria points towards racial stereotypes.
In recent years, Palace fans have quite rightly made a concerted effort to stop their fellow supporters from chanting anything of a homophobic nature towards Brighton but when you see things like this, it’s difficult to feel anything other than a sense of disgust at the stupidity and ignorance of an admittedly tiny minority of the Seagulls’ fan-base.
Hopefully, the individuals responsible for the song are called out by those who know them and desist from singing it again.